How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy equipment(HE) include machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, excavators, forklifts, etc., that are used for heavy-duty work. As these machines are of a large size and strength, the people who operate them must be well trained and highly skilled. The people who handle these equipments are called heavy equipment operators.
Heavy equipment operators operate, maintain, repair, and adjust the different types of expensive and heavy equipment usually used in construction. Generally, these operators specialize in equipments such as bulldozers, backhoes, graders, cranes, etc. It is a necessary requirement for HE operators to learn to control various types of gear, including pedals, levers, switches, hydraulic controls, turn dials, and various other devices present in this category.
A heavy equipment operator job includes the handling of mining equipment, excavation equipment, and material handling equipment, or road construction equipment to excavate, grade and landscape the earth, or to transport workers, materials and equipment. A career as a HE operator is not dull. It is a highly marketable trade, and a decent living can be made in this career.
Like in any other career, it requires a certain level of education and training provided in special schools.
A commercial driver license is a must for a HE operator. Usually, a high school diploma, or its equivalent, is also a requirement. Some amount of experience in truck driving, and familiarity with small construction machinery is also a necessity. Along with that, they also should have knowledge of the hazards, safety rules, and the required precautions for traffic laws. HE operators should also be able to work with a variety of people, be flexible in terms of additional training and responsibility, and be able to judge distances.
In America, some states require additional licenses for different pieces of equipment. For instance, a certified landfill operator license is required by Wisconsin, which has to be obtained within 6 months of being hired.
Most of the state community colleges and vocational schools offer certificates or degrees for heavy equipment operators. The training that is provided in these certification courses makes operators more competitive. Apprenticeships, which include training for periods of up to 3 years, which involve handling many more types of machines, also open up good job opportunities for operators.
The heavy equipment industry offers loads of job opportunities. They are:
a) Operators of crane-works
b) Heavy Construction Equipment Supervisors/Operators
c) Logging Machine Operators
d) Mining and Quarrying Supervisors
e) Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators
f) Material Handlers
g) Backhoe Operators
h) Bulldozer Operators
i) Excavator Operators
j) Grader Operators
The certification in heavy equipment operation is awarded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The 2005 Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the demand for construction equipment operators is expected to remain high right through to the year 2014. The handbook also specifies that candidates should gain practical experience, in addition to enrolling in training programs. It also reveals that the average salary of construction equipment operators is $17.00 per hour, but that highly skilled and experienced operators can earn over $29.34 per hour.
Finally, the people who opt for a career as HE operators and small earth moving contractors should have a sense of satisfaction. They are not only in a well-paid job with an excellent future, but they also are involved in supporting the country to solve the energy, environmental, and water problems.
Heavy Equipment Operator
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